VT Highway Safety: Extra Drunk Driving Patrols This Super Bowl Sunday

SuperBowl

PRESS RELEASE Super Bowl Sunday High Visibility Traffic Enforcement

Motorists traveling in Vermont will see an increased number of law enforcement officers conducting high visibility, impaired driving enforcement during this upcoming Super Bowl weekend.

This year’s Super Bowl game will be held on Sunday, February 3rd in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, located in New Orleans.  Although kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 P.M. (local time), statewide enforcement patrols will be active the entire weekend with particular emphasis on the hours immediately prior to the game and following the contest’s conclusion.

Lieutenant Michael Macarilla, Commander of Vermont State Police Traffic Operations, hopes this Super Bowl Sunday will be free from roadway tragedies.  “This weekend the public will see more troopers deployed in areas that have been identified as crash prone locations.”  He reminds drivers: “Wear your belt for every trip; slow down a little more during poor weather conditions; limit distractions and don’t drive if you’ve been drinking”.

In a change of tactics, the Governor’s Highway Safety Program (GHSP) announced it is supporting the deployment of four specialized DUI Task Force teams, comprised of State Police, County and local law enforcement officers.  The teams will focus on specific geographical areas recently identified through data analysis as locations with noticeable levels of DUI activity.

Some of the patrolling officers will be members of the elite Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) program, trained and certified to detect drugged drivers.  Driving while impaired by prescription drugs, as well as operators ingesting illicit drugs, continues to be an area of critical concern for traffic safety advocates.
The DUI Task Force will continue to be utilized during certain periods throughout the remainder of the year.  Last year Vermont experienced a measurable increase of roadway fatalities with 77 deaths occurring in traffic related incidents.

Of particular concern are the 23 fatalities which involved alcohol and also the 23 deaths in which the driver was impaired by drugs. In addition to impaired driving, unbelted motorists, excessive speed and distracted drivers were primary causes in many of the deadly crashes during 2012.

Bennington County Sheriff, Chad Schmidt asks all Vermonters to use common sense while driving and adds: “The Vermont DUI Task Force teams are another tool that we can use to help make our roads safer for all those traveling throughout the state”.

The intensified law enforcement saturation in these areas of focus is made possible through the use of designated funds provided to Vermont by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  These patrols are in addition to efforts conducted by regularly scheduled officers in communities across the state.

“The Super Bowl is one of the largest media events of the year, we hope you enjoy the game, get home safely and avoid driving if you’ve consumed alcohol” says Newport City Chief Seth DiSanto.

Whether attending the game, watching at a sports bar or hosting a party, NHTSA is reminding everyone that Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk and to ensure a designated driver is a member of their team. The agency also offers these additional safety tips:

*  Designate your sober driver or have an alternate transportation plan before the party begins.

*  Avoid drinking too much alcohol too fast. Pace yourself – eat enough food, take breaks, and alternate with non-alcoholic drinks.

*  If you don’t have a designated driver, ask a sober friend for a ride home; call a cab, friend, or family member to come and get you; or just stay where you are and sleep it off until you are sober.

*  Use your community’s sober ride program.

*  Never let a friend leave your sight if you think they are about to drive and have had too much to drink.

*  Always buckle up – it’s still your best defense against other drunk drivers.

If you are hosting a Super Bowl party:

*  Remember, you can be held liable and prosecuted if someone you served ends up in a drunk-driving crash.

*  Make sure all of your guests designate their sober drivers in advance, or help arrange alternate transportation.

*  Serve lots of food and include lots of non-alcoholic beverages at the party.

*  Stop serving alcohol at the end of the third quarter of the game and begin serving coffee and dessert.

*  Keep the numbers for local cab companies handy, and take the keys away from anyone who has had too much to drink.

For information on our Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving Campaign please http://www.nhtsa.gov&lt;http://www.nhtsa.gov> or visit the Facebook<http://www.facebook.com/buzzeddrivingisdrunkdriving> page. You can also follow on Twitter at (@buzzeddriving<http://twitter.com/buzzeddriving>). # # #
Thomas E. Fields Law Enforcement Liaison P.O. Box 454 Shaftsbury, Vt. 05262 Phone: 802-375-5913 Email: Tom.Fields@state.vt.us<mailto:Tom.Fields@state.vt.us>
State of Vermont | Vermont Department of Public Safety

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